Polymorphous ventricular tachycardia: clinical features and treatment

Am J Cardiol. 1979 Aug;44(2):339-44. doi: 10.1016/0002-9149(79)90326-6.


Thirty-four cases of ventricular tachyarrhythmia characterized by polymorphy of the QRS complexes with changing R-R intervals and a heart rate of 150 to 300 beats/min, termed polymorphous ventricular tachycardia, are described. The factors involved in the appearance of this arrhythmia were the administration of antiarrhythmic drugs (quinidine 22 patients, procainamide 5 patients, ajmaline 1 patient), antianginal drugs (prenylamine [Synadrin] 4 patients) and antidepressant drugs (thioridazine 1 patient). Twenty-one patients were treated for premature ventricular complexes, three for chronic recurrent ventricular tachycardia, six for atrial flutter and fibrillation, three for anginal pain and one patient for mental depression. All patients except one had a drug-induced prolonged corrected Q-T interval before the appearance of polymorphous ventricular tachycardia. Most of the patients with this arrhythmia were considered to have severe myocardial disease. Lidocaine and electric cardioversion were administered to all patients, but were effective only in seven patients whose tachycardia occurred in short, single episodes. The most effective treatment (17 patients) was temporary ventricular pacing at rates ranging from 100 to 140 beats/min. Intravenous isoproterenol proved to be successful in another 10 cases. It is concluded that patients with severe myocardial involvement receiving antiarrhythmic drugs for premature ventricular complexes, especially the multiform variety, are at high risk for the development of polymorphous ventricular tachycardia.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / therapeutic use
  • Cardiac Pacing, Artificial
  • Coronary Disease / complications
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electric Countershock
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Heart Diseases / complications
  • Heart Ventricles
  • Humans
  • Lidocaine / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tachycardia / diagnosis
  • Tachycardia / therapy*


  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents
  • Lidocaine